Islanders join Santa for lights switch-on

THOUSANDS of islanders gathered in Town for the big Christmas lights switch-on.

The event was only made possibly by the support of Agilisys, Ravenscroft and TPA who stepped in as sponsors at the last minute.

Without them, Guernsey could not have taken part in one of the few events in the British Isles where hundreds of children could head into Town to welcome Santa.

Until earlier this month, the switch-on was in jeopardy due to lack of funds, but islanders were happy it was able to go ahead.

Christopher Ardo said it made the whole Town area look so much prettier.

‘It definitely makes shopping more enjoyable, for me, anyway,’ he said.

‘Particularly with late-night shopping starting soon it really puts you in a Christmassy mood.’

Father Christmas greets children and turns on the Christmas lights in Market Square. (28937300)

Recognised as the official start of the festive season, organisers were incredibly grateful for the companies that saved the day.

Santa’s essential worker status, which was approved by Dr Nicola Brink, covered his visit to Guernsey and he recruited the help of his local elves to collect letters from the children.

After arriving by the Model Yacht Pond, he hopped on Le Petit Train and travelled down the South Esplanade, up to Fountain Street and into Market Square where islanders gazed as he lit up Town with fairy lights with the help of eight-year-old Aaron Loveridge.

Aaron Loveridge, 8, with the Christmas tree in Market Square after he pushed the lever to turn all of the Christmas lights on in town. (28938017)

Aaron’s mum won a competition on Facebook which meant he was able to take centre stage with Santa and push the lever to turn on the lights.

‘I found it really exciting, it was cool how everybody counted down from ten and cheered when the lights came on,’ he said.

‘I had a little chat to Santa for a bit, I asked him for some football stuff and a darts board.’

Santa accepts a child’s Christmas list having arrived at the Model Yacht Pond before making his way to Market Square. (Picture by Adrian Miller, 28937290)

The slogan of the event was ‘switching on the sparkle for a magical Christmas’, which Tony Tostevin, of sponsor TPA, said was fitting in a year where we should be thankful and celebrating what we have.

  • The switch-on and Christmas parade is organised by a committee of volunteers from the Young Business Group (YBG), a non-profit organisation, in collaboration with Bailiwick Estates Ltd, managing agents of The Market Place, St Peter Port Constables, St Peter Port Christmas Lights, States Works and Guernsey Police.

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